What is a landing page?

Nick Harland
April 2022

What are landing pages? How are they different to web pages? What are the benefits of a landing page? Can you help me write one? We answer ALL of these questions and more!

A landing page is a web page that sits outside the normal structure of a website. It is typically created to persuade people to take a specific action, such as buying a product, leaving their contact details or registering for an event. For that reason, the design, structure and copy of a landing page is different to a ‘normal’ web page.

And yeah, it’s pretty much called a landing page because it’s where people first ‘land’ after clicking a link. An imaginative name, we know.

Landing page vs web page

The difference between a landing page and a web page is very similar to the difference between copywriting and content writing.

Both landing pages and copywriting are done to persuade the reader to take action. On the other hand, web pages and content writing are more interested in informing the reader. 

Because landing pages are optimised for one specific purpose, they’re more effective at achieving that purpose than a standard web page would be. Here are a few key differences between a landing page and a website:

  • A landing page has fewer distractions. On a normal website, you’re likely to have a whole bunch of distractions. There are pop-ups, related content, header links, menus, footers - basically, there is a shit load of things you could click on and thus navigate away from the page. On a landing page, you’ll typically just have one link: the one which helps you meet the aim of the landing page.
  • Simpler layout. Landing pages tend to be simple, concise and to the point. That goes for both the copy and the design. Whilst on a normal web page you might have fancy design features and distractions, a landing page is a lean, mean, conversion machine.
  • More direct. A landing page is trying to convince you to buy something, download something, register for something - basically, do something. Take action. So they are more direct and explicit in achieving that goal. They’re unlikely, for instance, to give you much background information about the company, or tell you about the founder’s life story.

Benefits of a landing page

Here are some of the biggest benefits of a landing page:

  • They’re better at persuading people to take action. Simply put, if you have a specific goal in mind - getting new subscribers for your newsletter, selling copies of your book, winning new leads - a landing page will do that better than a normal web page.
  • They’re easy to make. It’s free and easy to create a landing page. You don’t even need a company website to do it. The likes of MailChimp, Wix and HubSpot all let you create a professional-looking landing page for nowt.
  • They don’t have to form part of your website. Does your website look crap? It doesn’t matter! A landing page can exist outside of it, somewhere in the ether of the world wide web. You’ve got free reign with the design, and as we just mentioned, it’s as easy as pie to make one.
  • It could be a better option than redesigning your website. We’ve already explained how landing pages are optimised around a specific purpose, and maybe that got you thinking you need to go back and redo your website. But creating a new landing page for your next campaign could be a cheaper, simpler and more effective option than redesigning your whole website.
  • They make it easy to measure the success of a marketing campaign. People visit your website for lots of different reasons - and not all of them are there because of your marketing campaign. Directing people to a landing page instead makes it easier to measure the success of your campaign, rather than conflating website traffic with campaign traffic.

Landing page best practices

We’ve previously written about how to optimise your landing page for success, but here is a summary of some things to take into account when writing your landing page:

  • Stick to one call-to-action. If you want people to download something, only let them do that. Don’t also have a ‘Contact Us’ button. It confuses people, dilutes your message and reduces the effectiveness of your landing page.
  • Put the key info ‘above the fold.’ The fold being the part of the landing page you can see without scrolling down. In this top section you should include a headline, short intro and call-to-action. Go into greater detail further down, if you want.
  • Pass the two-sentence test. When someone reads your landing page, they should be able to understand your company and the offer in two sentences or less. If it’s still unclear, go back and rewrite it.
  • Don’t worry about word counts. Although the intro should be short and snappy, the length of the whole landing page is up to you. It really depends on the complexity of the product or service you’re offering. Write until there is nothing you could add or subtract from the landing page that would improve it.
  • Test, edit and revise. Once you’ve launched your landing page, you’ve gotta keep on top of it to see how it’s doing. If it’s underperforming, tinker with the copy. Finetune the layout. Toy with the design. Keep testing and revising until it’s getting you the results you want. Good luck!

Nick Harland